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Report: Celtics to extend qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller 06.30.16 at 10:57 am ET
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Kevin Durant may be the prize, and Dwight Howard an intriguing possibility, but the Celtics aren’t taking any piece of their roster for granted.

To that end, they plan to offer qualifying offers to big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller. Per Steve Bulpett of the Herald:

Qualifying offers must be made by Thursday, and extending them allows the Celtics to match any offer sheet Zeller and/or Sullinger sign in restricted free agency. Otherwise, they would’ve become unrestricted free agents.

Sullinger’s offer will be for $4,433,683, while Zeller’s one-year offer is for $3,695,169, according to the Herald.

Sullinger averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds this year, though he was ineffective against the Hawks in the playoffs. Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds, falling out of Brad Stevens’ rotation at times.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics, Celtics rumors, Jared Sullinger
Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on Celtics beating Bucks to close in on No. 3 seed 04.08.16 at 11:32 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Sam Packard explain how the Celtics were eventually able to get their engines going and blow out the short-handed Bucks, 124-109, Friday night at TD Garden. As a result, the Celtics won their fourth straight and improved to 47-32 on the season, tying the Hawks for third in the East heading into their Saturday night showdown in Atlanta.

Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Mike Petraglia, Milwaukee Bucks
Studs and Duds: Tyler Zeller, Evan Turner led Celtics past Knicks 02.02.16 at 10:16 pm ET
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Feb 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) is called for a flagrant foul against Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony commits a flagrant foul against Celtics forward Jae Crowder during Tuesday’s game. (USA TODAY Sports)

Shooting is overrated.

On a night when the Celtics couldn’t make a 3-pointer to save their lives — missing their first 13 — it didn’t matter in a 97-89 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

With the win, the Celtics (28-22) pulled a half-game ahead of the Heat and are tied with the Hawks for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 20 points, while Tyler Zeller (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Evan Turner (14 and 10) both added double-doubles off the bench. Aaron Afflalo led the Knicks with 18.

In a sloppy and physical first half, the Celtics kept the game close, despite only shooting 38 percent from the field and missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.

With their outside shots not falling, the Celtics pulled ahead in the third quarter by moving the ball and attacking the basket. After only managing six assists in the first half, the Celtics assisted on nine of their 11 third quarter field goals.

In the fourth, the Celtics bench, led by Turner, Zeller, and Kelly Olynyk, dominated the Knicks, abusing their terrible pick-and-roll defense. The trio combined for 25 of the team’s 27 points in the final frame.

They needed it, too, because they were abysmal from long range, making only 3 of 19 3-pointers (15.8 percent). They helped their cause by limiting the Knicks to 30 percent shooting from distance (6-for-20).

The C’s return home to play the Pistons to complete the back-to-back on Wednesday night.

For a complete box score, click hereRead the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics 97, Isaiah Thomas, Knicks 89, Kristaps Porzingis
Why Celtics won’t sign Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller to contract extensions now 11.02.15 at 2:03 pm ET
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Jared Sullinger

Jared Sullinger

As expected, the Celtics will not reach contract extensions with big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller before Monday’s deadline, according to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach.

The NBA salary cap is expected to expand $20 million next summer, so Sullinger and Zeller have no reason to sign a team-friendly extension based on the league’s current salary structure. Likewise, the C’s have little incentive to sign Sullinger and Zeller to player-friendly deals now, because of the former’s conditioning issues and the latter’s inconsistent production.

Consider that fellow 2012 NBA Draft first-round pick Jeremy Lamb, who couldn’t crack the regular rotation in Oklahoma City for his first three seasons, is reportedly signing a three-year, $21 million contract extension two games into his Hornets career. Sullinger and Zeller should receive an average annual value of $7 million next summer if they respectively eat a handful of Big Macs for lunch every day and fall to fifth or sixth on the C’s frontcourt depth chart this season.

More likely, both will be seeking double-digit millions per season next summer, and by not offering them that kind of cash flow right now, the Celtics can monitor their progress closely now and maintain significant salary cap flexibility in 2016, when both become restricted free agents and represent $12.2 million in combined cap holds come July 1.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jared Sullinger, NBA, Tyler Zeller
Sadly, Tyler Zeller concedes Celtics won’t finish 82-0 this season 09.23.15 at 1:16 pm ET
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Brad Stevens couldn't be more excited about the 2015-16 NBA season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens couldn’t be more excited about the 2015-16 NBA season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

When Celtics coach Brad Stevens says, “We have to play better than last year overall to make the playoffs again,” it’s not merely a motivating tactic in hopes of curbing complacency. He’s right.

If the C’s finish with the same 40-42 record they produced in 2014-15, they may not only fail to claim a No. 7 seed again, but miss the playoffs entirely. Just about every Eastern Conference team that finished below Boston last season has since upgraded its roster, save for the 76ers.

“From a coaching standpoint, I always go into a season looking at what I think we’€™ll be able to do well, and I think you look at what your potential challenges will be,” Stevens told the media gathered at Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth for the team’s annual charity golf fundraiser. “So, I just look at it more as a job. I don’€™t look at it as what expectations are from results.

“We have such a long way to go to be where we want to be. We have to play better than last year overall to make the playoffs again. The East is better. Teams that didn’€™t make it really improved. We were as close to 12th as we were to fourth, so time will tell if we make the right strides, but if we take shortcuts or if we’€™re not connected, then we won’€™t. So, that’€™s our job.”

In what has also become an annual tradition, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered his list of contenders for the Eastern Conference crown this season.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, NBA
Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger face contract extension conundrum 09.22.15 at 11:54 am ET
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Tyler Zeller

Tyler Zeller

As anticipated, negotiations between the Celtics and their trio of players entering the final year of their rookie contracts — Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and Perry Jones III — haven’t moved beyond an initial discussion.

“I’ve had preliminary conversations with the representatives of those players, and we’ll see how it goes in October,” team president Danny Ainge said from Plymouth, where the C’s hosted their annual charity golf tournament to benefit the Shamrock Foundation. “We have until October to make those decisions, and we’ll see how training camp goes.”

Ainge and the agents for Sullinger and Zeller are expected to be far apart on negotiations. The C’s will seek team-friendly deals for a pair of players who haven’t established themselves as anything beyond role players, while those two — as all free agents will be — are anticipating hefty raises when the salary cap balloons $20 million in 2016. As for Jones, he may not even make the roster, so he won’t be signing an extension for an entirely different reason.

“Obviously, it would be nice to have an extension, just because it’s a little more security, but at the same time you’ve got to approach the year, and you can’t be heartbroken if you don’t get it,” said Zeller, one of two players (Jonas Jerebko) at the charity golf event. “You have to be fully prepared. Either way, I’ve got to do my job this year. I have one more year on my contract, so I’ve got to go out and do as much as I can to help our team this year.”

While Sullinger was not present Tuesday, his father was in a foursome at Plymouth’s Old Sandwich Golf Club. The Celtics brass has not seen Satch Sullinger’s son this summer, as the fourth-year big man is not one of eight players working out in Waltham, but Ainge has followed Jared Sullinger’s training regimen on social media. Sort of.

“My eyes aren’t good enough to see the Twitter pictures, nor do I believe most of the Twitter pictures, but I’m not worried about that,” said Ainge, who has criticized Sullinger’s conditioning in the past. “I know Jared is putting in the work this summer. It’s a big year for him and for us, and I’m confident he’s going to have a terrific year.”

But there’s at least a chance neither Sullinger nor Zeller will earn the starting positions they held at various points last season, since the arrival of veterans David Lee and Amir Johnson presents a logjam in the frontcourt. And that could present a problem for a pair of players who need playing time now to increase their value next summer.

“It’s one of those things where hopefully your play speaks for itself,” said Zeller. “You’ve just got to go and find your little niche and what your team needs, where you fit, and hopefully that will kind of talk for itself and get you playing time. And if it doesn’t, you’ve just got to keep working and keep trying to find a spot for you.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jared Sullinger, NBA
Danny Ainge will have contract talks with Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger 09.04.15 at 6:33 am ET
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Jared Sullinger

Jared Sullinger

The Celtics have until Oct. 31 to decide if they want to offer contract extensions to Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger, two extension-eligible players that are still on their rookie contracts.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Boston Globe that he’s had meetings with Sullinger and Zeller’s agents and that talks will continue through October.

“Obviously, those are two guys that we like moving forward,” Ainge told the Globe. “So, yeah, there will be more discussions with both of them, probably during the month of October.”

Zeller, who is coming off the most impressive season of his young career, earned a starting spot in the lineup at center last season. Averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, Zeller may have the best chance of signing a contract extension with the Celtics before November.

Sullinger, 23, is coming off of another injury-plagued season, playing only 58 games last year. He averaged 13.3 points and 7.6 rebounds, but the Celtics may hold off on offering him a contract extension until they see health improvements. Sullinger still is young, but as he’s had back and foot surgeries, the Celtics have seen him play one complete season throughout his three-year career. His weight and conditioning also have become a concern, a problem that Sullinger has worked on this summer, gearing up for the upcoming season.

Newly acquired forward Perry Jones is another player who is eligible for a contract extension, but he will have to fight for a spot on the roster. Jones, who was traded to the Celtics from Oklahoma City, could be cut from the team since the Celtics have to eliminate one of their 16 guaranteed contracts to get down to the league maximum of 15 players.

Read More: Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller,
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